Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

28. Christmas Courage – Part 1

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Matthew 2:1-12

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. 

When I study the Christmas story what strikes me is who God called to come and worship His Son. He called people from all walks of life. The rich, the poor, the educated and the uneducated, he called both men and women. The call of Christmas crosses all of our man-made boundaries, including the ones between the sexes, the social, and even the socio-economic. It is at the manger that we really see the merging of mankind where our differences are destroyed, and our wars are replaced with worship. For it is at the manger that our focus is no longer on self, or the sexes, or our social status but on the Savior. Yet what saddens me as I look at the Christmas story 2000 years later is that it has become so familiar that we no longer find it amazing. It’s a story that involves courage and commitment, service and sacrifice, heartache and happiness, worship and war, danger and death, journeys and joy. The story of the Wise Men starts with:

  1. THE JOURNEY

At Christmas time we get so focused on the cradle of Christ that we forget the chaos of that first Christmas and we miss the call and the courage and the commitment. The journey to Jesus was one that involved a:

  • Call Vs 2 “We saw his star as it rose”

God announced His intentions to the world, this wasn’t just a clue it was a call. Sometimes we get the idea that the only place God can speak to us is in church which is simply not true. God works through many circumstances to call us to Himself; and quite often those circumstances involve our place of employment. God made His will know while these men were at work:

  • Moses was at work tending sheep.
  • Gideon was at work harvesting wheat
  • Peter was at work cleaning his nets after a night of fishing
  • Matthew was at work collecting taxes
  • Wise Men were at work studying the stars

As they were investigating the heavens God gave them an invitation to the Incarnate, to Immanuel God with us. The question is what are we looking at today? What are we paying attention to? God published His plan with a planet yet most people seemed to miss it why because like many of us instead of paying attention to God’s plan they were preoccupied with theirs. God gave them a sign, and they had a decision as to whether they would follow by faith or cling to the familiar. What about you, what are you going to do with God’s invitation? Are you going to get involved or ignore it, are you going to respond or reject, are you going to care or become callused? God gives men enough light that they might search for more. These wise men were not content with just seeing a shiny sign they wanted what the star showed, the Savior. Many of us are not journeying to Jesus because we have become so caught up chasing societies sign that we no longer care for the Savior. How do you see the star and still miss the Savior, because you don’t see His sign as significant. But it’s not just about the call there is also a:

  • Cause – Vs 2 – “we have come to worship him”

Why did the Wise men leave what was familiar and travel so far, faith. “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” What a powerful and probing question.  There is no doubt in their language that they believed that Jesus had been born, the question is “Where is He?” They had faith that He was alive, that He existed, they had a cause, chasing after Christ. You were created for a cause, the cause of Christ and it’s this cause that moved the Magi from the mundane to the monumental. We were not created to chase after the comfortable and the convenient, we were created for the cause of Christ. Choosing to run after Jesus meant risking it all, they left the safety and security for the Savior. We are called to be seekers of the Savior and that requires sacrifice, but many of us have settled for the safe and secure. We have settled for the secular cause instead of the Savior. This is not an invitation to the insignificant, no its an invitation to the greatest cause in our solar system the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a call from the earthly to the eternal. So let me ask you, how big is your cause, what are you chasing after? Sadly most of us have settled for the small cause of self instead of the massive cause of the Master. What about you, is the cause that you are chasing after a small one or a supernatural one?

 

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